Models, Models, and Models



Michael Dummett famously maintained that analytic philosophy was simply philosophy that followed Frege in treating the philosophy of language as the basis for all other philosophy (1978, 441). But one important insight to emerge from computer science is how difficult it is to animate the linguistic artifacts that the analysis of thought produces. Yet, modeling the effects of thought requires a new skill that goes beyond analysis: procedural literacy. Some of the most promising research in philosophy makes use of a variety of modeling techniques that go beyond basic logic and elementary probability theory. What unifies this approach is a focus on what Alan Perlis called procedural literacy. This essay argues that the future spoils in philosophical research will disproportionally go to those who are procedurally literate.